Governance and Accounting for the Management of Ecological Systems (GAMES)

Developing new approaches and tools for the sound governance of nature

Governance and Accounting for the Management of Ecological Systems (GAMES)

Natural capital, commonly defined as the stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources such as plants, animals, air, water, soils, or minerals that combine to provide a flow of benefits to people’, is a relatively new area for conservation research and practice. By demonstrating how nature contributes to human well-being, the natural capital approach aims to influence decision-making, action, investment and business intervention to improve biodiversity conservation.

Over the past two decades this approach has led to the development of innovative ways to assess and value biodiversity and ecosystem services. There is emerging evidence of success in using these approaches and tools to inform decision-making in one-off case studies, but mostly at a small scale and under favourable conditions.

Incorporating natural capital into resource and land-use decisions and management systematically, at larger scales, remains elusive. Responding to this challenge requires refining our understanding of complex natural resource governance and accountability systems while creating links between private and public, national and local approaches to natural capital accounting and management.

Governance contexts are often poorly considered and addressed in conservation implementation. The Luc Hoffmann Institute Governance and Accounting for the Management of Ecological Systems  (GAMES) project tests a combination of diagnostic and accountability tools with WWF leaders on ‘valuing nature’ initiatives.

Ultimately, this project will improve the capacity of conservation practitioners to address both ecological quality and societal well-being goals in conservation investments.

The methods and tools have been discussed with WWF ‘champions’ from the start of this project.  WWF Indonesia is using the revised frameworks and methods for issue identification and strategic decision-making as part of an active programme in the RIMBA corridor, channelling green economy investments into Sumatra, Indonesia.

As the project progresses it aims to:

  • Support WWF in achieving its goals by giving staff frameworks and materials to improve their use of biodiversity and ecosystem services information in conservation interventions and obtain measurable biodiversity and human well-being outcomes.
  • Tell better stories on the different ways in which natural capital is being defined, negotiated and accounted for in situations in which WWF is actively involved.
  • Innovate on interlinked governance and accounting systems for natural capital to develop replicable methods, knowledge management systems and capacity building materials for the restoration and maintenance of natural capital in priority places for conservation.

Main Image: ©Jürgen Freund / WWF

Project partners

Project leaders

Dr. Clément Feger (University of Cambridge and LHI), Dr. Bhaskar Vira (University of Cambridge), Emily McKenzie (WWF-US and Natural Capital Project), Dr. Louise Gallagher (LHI), Prof. Laurent Mermet (AgroParisTech).

Project development

The concept was developed with WWF Economics and Sustainability lead (Emily McKenzie) and LHI Research Programme Head (Louise Gallagher) with input from a WWF Advisory Group.

Start date:  1 July 2016
End date:    30 November 2017

Alejandro GuizarGovernance and Accounting for the Management of Ecological Systems (GAMES)